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an unmanned american drone after they say it came into restricted airspace. u.s. officials say they have accounted for all the drones. we are live in the middle east straight ahead. >>> in 28 days your paycheck will get smaller. in 28 days your taxes will go up. coming up, a new proposal from republicans to keep us from plunging over the fiscal cliff. >>> three storms in one week. the west coast is getting hammered by rain. a live report minutes away for you. good morning. welcome to "early start" this tuesday morning. i'm christine romans. >> i'm zoraida sambolin. it's 5:00 a.m. in the east. >>> we begin with breaking news. iran claiming it has captured a u.s. drone. this is video from state television in tehran it shows two revolutionary guard commanders examining what appears to be an intact scan eagle drone. we don't know if it's the one they claim they captured. moments ago a u.s. defense official told barbara starr the u.s. navy has fully accounted for all unmanned vehicles operating in the middle east region. we have the latest developments now from cairo. a u.s. source says that
's the concern of u.s. officials, the belief that's happened. we'll talk it over next. w? >>> welcome back. we have important breaking news to tell you about right now. nbc news is reporting u.s. officials say their worst fears have been confirmed that the syrian military has loaded chemical weapons inside bombs. nbc says those same officials say bashar al assad's forces are awaiting final order to use those loaded missiles against syria's own people. this video posted online, which we can't independently verify, purports to show syrian missiles that have been modified to carry chemical and biological weapons. obviously, this is a sobering development in a situation that seems to be getting worse by the day. pentagon correspondent barbara starr joins me now, along with cnn contributor and former cia officer bob baer and on the phone, cnn international contributor, fran townsend. barbara, i know you're working to confirm this nbc report. how much would this change the situation? if u.s. military is going to act to prevent assad from gassing his own people, it would seem, if they loaded this stu
troops on it is side of the militarize zone separating from south korea. as well as nearly 30,000 u.s. forces. not only are they within strikes distance of the launch site, a long-range rocket shows north korea is on its way to developing technology to launch a rocket at the united states's west coast and hawaii. officials tell cnn that the working assumption is that the north koreans got outside help from others, including iran. so today's launch is raising some huge concerns. let's go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. i assume they are pretty surprised and alarmed by the successful launch over at the pentagon? >> look, wolf, because of everything you just mentioned, indeed, the u.s. military, the intelligence committee have been watching north korea for days now 24/7 because they did expect to launch and they announced it. but they were having technical problems so a lot thought it wouldn't happen until next week. when it happened last week, there was a surprise. the north korean anchor's excitement was clear. >> announcing the launch of a long-range rocket that put a nor
this hour about an urgent national security issue. u.s.-led efforts to try to track down and eliminate loose nuclear weapons. that's coming up. >>> also, frightening now revelations about an al qaeda plot for a three-part terror attack on the united states embassy in iman, jordan. i'll ask the country's foreign minister for details. he's standing by live. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >>> we begin this afternoon with brand-new republican offers to try to save the $2.2 trillion and avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. the across-the-board spending cuts and sharp tax increases that hit in just 29 days. let's get straight to our senior congressional correspondent dana bash. she's watching what's going on. dana, the tax rates, first of all, let's get to a major sticking point right now. there's been a counterproposal from house republicans to the white house. you have details. >> reporter: that's right. let's start exactly where you just began on those tax rates because that has become the big divide between the two sides. the answer is the house republicans are not budging. the
. board of education. the issue the u.s. supreme court agreed to take on that will make history. >> all of those who argued for nonintervention because of the things that might happen have now happened because we failed to intervene. >>> when is enough enough? that is the question many are asking about syria, as the death toll climbs and concerns mount over chemical weapons. now some lawmakers are saying it may be too late to stop mass destruction. >>> and a toddler taken from the only parents she ever knew because of a little known federal law. now they're fighting to get her back, and may be on their way to the supreme court. i'll talk with them live. >>> good morning, everyone. i'm randi kaye. it is 10:00 on the east coast, 7:00 on the west. thanks so much for starting your day with us. it was supposed to be just for laughs. humor. the listeners with a lighthearted prank. two radio deejays called the london hospital where the duchess of cambridge was being treated and tricked a nurse to get details about her condition. two days later, that nurse, 46-year-old jacintha saldanha, took h
as an independent. he ran for the u.s. senate two years ago as an independent but lost to marco rubio and served as governor of florida as a republican. sum are speculating crist made this latest move in preparation for a run against incumbent florida governor rick scott in 2014. >>> lawmakers want answers about what that deadly depth seventh attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya is all about. soon they may hear from secretary of state hillary clinton. she will testify before a house committee on a state department report expected next week. u.s. ambassador to libya chris stevens and three other americans were killed when the consulate was stormed three months ago. >>> in britain, a prank call from an australian radio station to the hospital treating the duchess of cambridge has turned tragic. two deejays called the hospital, tricked a nurse to get information about katherine's condition. well, that nurse was found dead friday of an apparent suicide. she leaves behind a husband and two children. > the two deejays are suspended and the ceo of the station's parent company says he's confi
for the organized labor movement in the u.s., passage for this law in michigan would be a body blow to the labor movement in the u.s., wolf. >> certainly would be. thanks very much for that, jessica. >>> the president's due back here in washington just in a little while from michigan. his focus will be back on trying to get a deal with the house speaker john boehner over taxes and spending cuts. our chief political analyst gloria borger is here to take a closer look at the agreements, the disagreements, i guess there's more disagreements than agreements. let's step back and see where these two sides stand, gloria. >> let's step back from the cliff here for a minute, wolf. and you'll see that on tax, which is of course the crux of this matter, there's a huge difference between congressional republicans who want to raise $800 billion over ten years from tax increases. and of course the white house that wants to, you know, basically double that. i mean, the white house says, we need to get more revenue from taxes. if you break apart these tax number, take a look, because of course we know, the big
by the u.s. state department, the number of russian children adopted by american couples has increased significantly in the last few years. in 2004, the number was more than 5800 compared to only 962 last year. over the last 20 years, americans have are adopted more than 60,000 russian children, more than any other country. >> we remain committed to supporting inter-country adoptions between our two countries. the welfare of children is too important to be linked to political aspects of our relationship. >> reporter: the bottom line, says this expert, it is ultimately the children who will suffer because there aren't enough families in russia willing to adopt. >> there are, by some estimates, 700, 750,000 children in orphanages, in institutions in russia. they don't have that many families stepping up. >> reporter: the need is especially great for children with special needs like vatali. >> we rely on our faith and hope in jesus christ and that's what is going to get us through this. but it would just be devastating for those kids. >> reporter: the moyers already have two biological ch
. >>> now to the numbers that at first glance look like they're very good news for the u.s. economy and the obama administration, the nation's jobless rate fell to 7.7% in november as employers added 146,000 new jobs. the jobless rate hasn't been this low during the entire obama administration, but that's only part of the story. a closer look also shows a big reason behind today's drop in the unemployment rate is that 350,000 people dropped out of the work force in november. they're discouraged, many of them are, that they simply quit and they're trying to find work. christine romans joins us from new york. we saw the unexpected drop in the unemployment rate, but christine, take us a little behind the numbers that make up the headlines. >> 7.7% is that unemployment rate, the lowest since december, 2008, from before the president took office. 146,000 jobs created, twice what economists have been expecting. they really didn't see the pull back because of hiring being depressed because of hurricane sandy. maybe you'll see some of that in the next month, but this was a strong report on
's going on. also later, new warnings that the u.s. should be prepared to intervene in syria's civil war. senator john mccain now says he's deeply disturbed by the latest reports that the current regime in damascus is preparing to use chemical weapons against its own people. >> these reports may mean that the united states and our allies are facing the prospect of an imminent use of weapons of mass destruction. year-end event. so, the 5.3-liter v8 silverado can tow up to 9,600 pounds? 315 horsepower. what's that in reindeer-power? [ laughs ] [ pencil scratches ] [ male announcer ] chevy's giving more. get the best offer of the year -- 0% apr financing for 60 months plus $1,000 holiday bonus cash. plus trade up for an additional $1,000 trade-in allowance. hurry. bonus cash ends january 2nd. you won't take our future. aids affects us all. even babies. chevron is working to stop mother-to-child transmission. our employees and their families are part of the fight. and we're winning. at chevron nigeria, we haven't had a reported case in 12 years. aids is strong. aids is strong. but we are str
for new jersey. wait. isn't he a fiscal hawk? plus, syrian president accuses the u.s. of manufacturing stories as a pretext for an invasion. leon panetta responds tonight and a day after john mcagree is taken into custody, he was rush to the hospital. we'll be back. everything hase just right. perfection is in the details. ♪ get to holiday fun faster with pillsbury cookie dough. i have a cold... i took dayquil, but i still have a runny nose. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't work on runny noses. what? [ male announcer ] it doesn't have an antihistamine. really? [ male announcer ] really. alka-seltzer plus cold and cough fights your worst cold symptoms, plus has a fast acting antihistamine to relieve your runny nose. [ sighs ] thank you! [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth! [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus. ♪ oh what a relief it is! ♪ [ male announcer ] can't find theraflu? try alka-seltzer plus for fast, liquid, cold, and flu relief. try alka-seltzer plus meet the 5-passenger ford c-max hybrid. when you're carrying a lot of weight, c-max has a
that divides russian society. but make no mistake, it is a power play. it's a response to that u.s. act, as you mentioned, a law signed by obama a couple of weeks ago intended to penalize, sanction russian officials connected with this particular custody case and this tax evasion case in russia. >> so matthew, this law would go into effect january 1st. is there any chance that those cases that are pending where the paperwork is finalized and where people are expecting their children, essentially, in a month or two would be allowed to go through? >> well, there is a question mark hanging over those. there are 52 children, according to the kremlin, that are in the middle of this adoption process with u.s. parents. the law, as you say, starts on january the 1st, but it's only a couple of days until then. so unless that can be finalized, my expectation is that that will be put on hold and indeed that's what russian officials are saying, that they don't think this law has been enacted from january the 1st, these children should be allowed to go to the united states. instead there's been a call for r
. this is according to a u.s. official to our barbara starr at the pentagon. up until now, by most accounts, this launch has been seen as a success, or certainly it raised the bar on how we view their capabilities. erin burnett spoke with defense secretary leon panetta, exclusively in kabul about this very issue. take a look. >> mr. secretary, thank you so much for taking the time. >> good to be with you, erin. >> i wanted to start by asking you about north korea. i know, obviously, they've had failures with rocket launches and eight months ago they failed. now they've had a success. and i'm wondering if you know how they fixed it or whether they might have had help from another country? >> we have no idea. as a matter of fact, we're still assessing just exactly what happened here to look at each of the stages and determine whether or not it really was a success or not. but, you know, the fact that they've launched this missile is a clear provocatn. we've warned them not toot it. we've been very concerned about their firing this missile. in violation of every international standard and rule
is acting rather childish about the fiscal cliff, this is not child's play. 33 days left. and the u.s. ambassador to the u.n., susan rice, facing new scrutiny today from democrats. this time about her personal investments. and the number of drones has surged. the newest versions, though, pretty incredible. they look like a cheetah and a fish. let's go "outfront." >>> good evening, everyone. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, hey, washington stop playing battleship. yes. battleship. we went out and bought it because we wanted to remind you, the kids game where the goal is, i'll read it, can you sink your opponent's fleet before your opponent sinks yours? pretty perfect. this fiscal cliff though is not child's play. it's just 33 days away and today, president obama's visit to a toy factory in pennsylvania had everyone acting a bit childish. >> i've been keeping my own naughty and nice lists. >> we're not interesting in playing rope a dope. >> i wasn't going to have him building roller coasters all day long. >> sure, who doesn't want to be a kid again, but washington, you have real wo
new poll shows that 52% of u.s. adult dults favor major restrictions on guns, making all guns illegal versus 47% last august. let's turn to our white house correspondent brianna keilar. she's joining us. the president came out and didn't mince very words. >> reporter: no, wolf. this is the first time that president obama has laid out a time line. he appointed vice president biden to lead this group of cabinet lawmakers to come out with some solutions and he wants those recommends from him no later than january. the president said this time washington won't just talk about tackling gun violence. >> this is not some washington commission. this is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. this is a team that has a very specific task to pull together real reforms right now. >> reporter: he urged congress to vote early next year on an assault weapons ban and high ammunition clips and close the loopholes so all gun buyers are subject to background checks. >> we're going to need to work on making
on the agenda when u.s. and russian officials met in geneva today with the u.n. peace envoy. reports say after 21 months of relentless bloodshed, they agreed it was still possible to find a political solution to the crisis. but russian foreign minister sergei lavrov insisted the meeting did not mean moscow's support for syrian president bashar al assad is weakening. fierce fighting threatening to engulf the city of damascus. >>> as that battle for the capital intensifies, the stakes are getting higher in syria, and the regime is getting even more desperate. the pentagon believes government troops have loaded bombs with sarin gas in what may be the last-ditch attempt for president assad to hold onto power. but as barbara starr reports now, a u.s. military strike on syria is not without risk. >> reporter: with the u.s. now believing the syrian government has chemical-filled bombs, cnn has learned the pentagon is secretly updating military strike options for president obama in the event he orders action. a senior u.s. official tells cnn a strike could be carried out with the ships and aircraft al
groups in syria. now one is going to be labeled a terrorist group with ties to al qaeda. >> plus, the u.s. postal service loses $25 million every single day. could this holiday season be the last for the usps? >>> and jenni rivera confirms as one of those kills in a plane crash. we'll look at her final moments in legacy, "outfront." [ female announcer ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all? it's lots of things. all waking up. connecting to the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away. we're going to wake the world up. and watch, with eyes wide, as it gets to work. cisco. tomorrow starts here. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ breathes deeply ] awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is. that's the cold truth! and his new boss told him two things -- cook what you love, and save your money. joe
injured after a car bomb tar getted a u.s. base. a minibus exploded at the gate of camp chapman. it was also the target of a suicide bombing that killed seven cia contractors and a jordanian in 2009 when a double agent, loyal to extremists, blew himself up. >>> syria's military police chief has defected. recording a video that aired on arab tv network, announcing he is defecting because the syrian army is no locker acting in the spec interest of the people. the decision follows two brutal attacks on hungry civilians standing in bread lines and comes at a time when rebel forces are said to be making gains over government troops over control of major cities. >>> andruw jones, free on bone this morning after being arrested outside atlanta on christmas on a battery charge. the gwinnett county detention center tells us there was a domestic dispute with his wife. the center fielder won ten straight gold gloves with the braves. played with the new york yankies last year and recently signed with a team in january pan. >>> shinzo abe has been elected prime minister. he held the same posi
his call for armed guards in every u.s. school. cnn's barbara starr tells us what he said and how people in high places of power are reacting to it. >> newtown. >> newtown. >> newtown. >> newtown. >> how many more? >> reporter: performers and artists now joining with 800 mayors calling for a plan to end gun violence. but wayne lapierre, the chief executive officer and public face of the national rifle association, made clear on nbc's "meet the press" that his organization will oppose legislation adding new restrictions to the sale of weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines. >> look, i know there's a media machine in this country that wants to blame guns every time something happensism know there's an anti-second amendment industry in this town. i know there's political leads that for 20 years always try to say it is because americans own guns. i'm telling you what i think will make people safe. and what every mom and dad will make them better, they drop their kid off at school in january is if we have a police officer in that school, a good guy. >> reporter: as the last of t
any impact on the outcome? the u.s. does think strategically. if i'm giving you a done, are cao going to do something for me. >> i think seth and i are a little bit closer than i thought. the question is whether that will make a difference i think on the margin, it makes a difference, but really, assad's greatest advantage is his air force and if we don't provide surface to air missiles and is set up a no fly zone, we're sort of on the margin. >> some said with the road to damascus blocked and the internet being down, no one's sure what's happening. but why do you think the internet is down? >> it's clearly purposeful and done by the syrian government. they are trying to spy on the internet or were when it was up. but decided it was in their interest. >> how long can they keep it up? >> most insurgencies take about a decade. this has a greater possibly for more blood sshebloodshed. i think if the united states get more involved, turkey, ipg the assad regime will fall eventually, but then the question is how long will the fighting continue among the rest of the groups. that's where the
of the u.s., and with that comes a little bit of fog. >> that's so unusual for california, isn't it? a lot of times reporting there. in that area like that to that degree. thank you for the update. >>> congress heads back to work this morning as the clock is ticking down toward the impending fiscal cliff. talks, though, seem to be at a stalemate. yesterday with just 29 days until tax hikes and deep spending cuts kick in. both republicans and the democrats were running to the airwaves to try to explain their positions. here's what they said. >> what we're not going to do is extend those tax cuts with the wealthiest americans. those cost a trillion dollars over ten years and there's no possibility that we're going to find a way to get our fiscal house in order without those tax rates going back up. >> nobody wants to go over the cliff. that's why the day after the election i tried to speed this process up by making the concession to put revenues on the table. it's unfortunate that the white house has spent three weeks doing basically nothing. >> the administration has presented a plan that c
, new debates today about gun control and domestic violence. you'll hear both. but first, the u.s. has long believed syria has a huge stockpile of chemical weapons. now new concerns that chemical arsenal is on the move. secretary of state hillary clinton today issuing another stern warning against syria, using these weapons. the syrian foreign ministry quick to respond here saying it would not use chemical weapons against its people if it had any, but this announcement as turkey is sending warplanes to its border with syria after the syrian military bombed a nearby town of ras al-ain. you can hear that and see the smoke. this is the turkish side of the border. this is fueling more fears that more of syria's violence will spill into its neighbor to the north, being turkey. security concerns are prompting the u.n. to announce it is pulling nonessential personnel out of syria. want to bring in fran townsend, our cnn national security contributor and member of the cia external advisory committee. and, fran, good to see you. let's talk about these chemical weapons because we know that in th
qaeda. >>> plus, the u.s. postal service loses $25 million every single day. could this holiday season be the last for the usps? >>> and mexican-american singer jenni rivera confirmed as one of those killed in a plane crash. we'll look at her final moments in legacy, "outfront." [ female announcer ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all? it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪ becoming part of the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ trees will talk to networks will talk to scientists about climate change. cars will talk to road sensors will talk to stoplights about traffic efficiency. the ambulance will talk to patient records will talk to doctors about saving lives. it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away. the next big thing? we're going to wake the world up. ♪ and watch, with eyes wide, as it gets to work. ♪ cisco. tomorrow starts here. he loves risk. but whether he's climbing everest, scuba diving the great barrier reef with sharks, or jumping into the market, he goes with people he trusts, which is w
byrd of west virginia. >>> back here in the u.s., the president is spending the christmas holiday with his family in hawaii. cnn's brianna keilar is there. there is no official word when he is coming back to the mainland but as that fiscal cliff deadline gets closer what do you think will happen as it rolls on? >> reporter: no official word the president will return to washington, i think that is the expectation. as you know, miguel, the senate will convene on december 27th, that's thursday. and in a perfect world, what the white house would want to see is the senate take up some sort of measure to avert the tax hikes that will hit people earning $250,000 or less. that's what they would want. that of course, would require some buy-in from senate republicans and ideally, as the white house would say that would then pass the house. now, that's lot of sort of wishful thinking, you might say, especially considering some of the pessimism we are hearing from democrats and republicans about whether the u.s. is going to go over the fiscal cliff. some folks think that perhaps senator mccon
on cnn. >>> after years of failed attempts, north korea successfully launches a rocket, why the u.s. is calling it clear provocation. >>> they're back, after three months an apology from apple's ceo and a fired high-ranking executive later while google maps returning this morning to the iphone store. >>> last night the stars came out and brought the house down. ♪ checking in your suitcase, thunder's rolling down this track ♪ >> we'll take you to the concert that raised nearly $30 million for superstarm soorm sandy reli. "the newsroom" starts right now. >>> good morning. car roll is off today, i'm don lemon. breaking news out of afghanistan, just a short time ago a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle outside the gates of kandahar airbase. defense secretary leanne panetta had been there, traveling there but he left hours earlier. not clear if the attack was tied to his visit. there are initial reports, though, that several coalition soldiers were wounded along with as many as ten civilians. we'll keep you updated on that attack here on cnn as we get new information. >>> and also ne
service centers. they say it happened on christmas eve. now, netflix has millions of subscribers in the u.s., canada, latin america, most folks have service up and running again by christmas day, though. if they missed it going into christmas, they can watch it in the evening. one netflix official says they're looking at how to prevent something like this from happening again. >>> russia is trying to put the brakes on americans adopting russian children. and today that ban is one step closer to becoming law. d details are next. it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪ becoming part of the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ trees will talk to networks will talk to scientists about climate change. cars will talk to road sensors will talk to stoplights about traffic efficiency. the ambulance will talk to patient records will talk to doctors about saving lives. it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away. the next big thing? we're going to wake the world up. ♪ and watch, with eyes wide, as it gets to work. ♪ cisco. tomorrow sta
, you know, when we think senator demint we think of a tea party stronghold within the u.s. senate and helped and also hurt a number of republican candidates. who were they? >> reporter: that's right. great. let's start with the senators now. obviously, who he helped elect. this is the positive side of his millions and his work. marco rubio, pat toomey. very conservative, anti-tax, anti-government purists in the mold of jim demint. however, he also backed in republican primaries a number of republican candidates who simply were not electable according to the republican establishment and the establishment was right. for example, remember christine o'donnell, i'm not a witch, from delaware. ken buck of colorado. and others. so those are some of the reasons why he definitely has ruffled many a-feather with the party leaders and i have to tell you first thing i saw when the senate republican leader mitch mcconnell released a statement today was making the point that demint had, quote, uncompromising service. didn't have to read between the lines too much to see there's a backhanded com
announcer ] how could a luminous protein in jellyfish, impact life expectancy in the u.s., real estate in hong kong, and the optics industry in germany? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. but they have to use special care in keeping the denture clean. dentures are very different to real teeth. they're about 10 times softer and may have surface pores where bacteria can multiply. polident is designed to clean dentures daily. its unique micro-clean formula kills 99.9% of odor causing bacteria and helps dissolve stains, cleaning in a better way than brushing with toothpaste. that's why i recommend using polident. [ male announcer ] polident. cleaner, fresher, brighter every day. >>> our second story "outfront," a stern warning to syria. the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. n
back to washington to oversee things as they move. or as the fiscal cliff comes nearer and the u.s. goes over it. >> can we expect any other lawmakers to step up to the plate and kick start negotiations? what about senate minority leader mitch mcconnell? >> well, the thing at this point and i'm told by sources is that there are no negotiations going on between senator mitch mcconnell, the republican leader in the senate, and senator majority leader harry reid in hawaii for the funeral of daniel inouye and is now back to washington. it could come down to the senate doing something. senator mcconnell might allow this bill i mentioned that i already passed in july, was a threshold for tax hikes, being at the $250,000 level, he may allow democrats to say, the house has to take this, or if there is some sort of vote on another measure, while mitch mcconnell would be unlikely to support it, perhaps he might let some of his republican senators do that, now, this is sort of thinking, coming from democrats, this is not something that mitch mcconnell at this point is planning to do, and it's
the crumbling regime could unleash chemical weapons on its own people. days after the u.s. and other countries warned embattled president bashar al assad against such action, defense secretary leon panetta says syria may be backing away from the threat. here is what pa net ta said early this morning on a flight to kuwait city. >> we haven't seen anything new indicating any aggressive steps to move forward in that way, but we continue to monitor it very closely and we continue to make clear to them that they should not under any means make use of these chemical weapons against their own population. >> and here's an example of how just murky the divisions are in syria, later today washington will declare one of the group of rebels a foreign terrorist organization. according to federal documents the group is merely another alias or al qaeda in iraq. >>> this morning we know the name of the navy s.e.a.l. killed during a raid to rescue a kidnapped american doctor in afghanistan. the s.e.a.l. is identified as petty officer first class nicolas checque. barbara starr joins us from the pentagon with mo
the fiscal cliff? >>> a dangerous winter storm roaring across the eastern half of the u.s. bringing blizzard conditions and travel nightmares. plus, the nra's controversial proposal to put armed volunteers in every school, we'll go in-depth with the man in charge of the national school shield program. i'm joe johns. you're in "the situation room." the u.s. is now just six days away from the so-called fiscal cliff. and a mad scramble is on here in washington to avoid the drastic tax hikes and spending cuts that many fear will plunge the economy back into recession. president obama flies back from hawaii tonight to be ready if the senate comes back with a plan when it returns to work tomorrow. and house leaders are huddling with members on stand-by to return. senior congressional correspondent dana bash is following all of it for us. what are you hearing? >> there was a conference call of course members of the house leadership even, they're back in their districts, but there was a conference call today among those house republican leaders trying to figure out if and when the house should come
, what would a serious u.s. military intervention in syria look like? >> it would probably, erin, start out with a no fly zone type operation, similar to what we had during operation southern watch, which -- and northern watch, which basically governed the skies over those parts of iraq after the first gulf war. that would be the first step. however, in order to secure things like chemical weapons, you would definitely have to look at using ground troops. it may not be u.s. ground troops, but the possibilities certainly exist that they might be used. >> of ground troops which i think is the key words for all viewers out there. ground troops is a very different sort of concept than what many people thought about what would happen in syria. and peter, i guess it comes down to this, about whether bashar al assad would use chemical weapons. the rebels seem to be gaining ground. the chemical weapons are horrific. would bashar al assad use them? >> it's an important question. i'm wondering, erin, whether this was a regime decision. you know, this activity surrounding chemical weapons, or they
's palace. we'll have a live report from cairo. but, first, u.s. military plans about possible action against syria are changing. senior pentagon officials tell cnn the syrian government could be escalating the civil war. there are new concerns the assad regime is preparing to use chemical weapons. let's get to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. barbara, how does this change the u.s. military's syria plan? are we talking u.s. troops, boots on the ground? >> well, not at this point, clearly, deb. but what we do know is that u.s. officials tell us that they are updating some of the military options for action against syria's chemical weapons capability, why are they doing this? of course, we chatted about this in the last several days. officials say they do have the intelligence now that syria has filled aerial bombs with deadly sarin gas. haven't moved it to airplanes yet, but this is very concerning because that, of course, would be the next step. so once you have the deadly bombs, the u.s. has to look at what the options could be, what they might want to target to essentially
. a rocket launch in north korea had the capability to travel 6,000 miles, one could conceivably reach the u.s. that's the assessment of three officials in south korea's defense ministry based on assessment of a part they recovered from one of the rockets. it shows the nuclear neighbor's intent. >>> president obama has not even nominated former senator chuck hagel as his choice for secretary of defense, but haggle taking heat over his past positions on iran and 2007 interview when he said "jewish loe lobby intimidated lawmakers." >> i would have serious questions to ask him, not just about israel, but to me the most significant foreign policy challenge for president obama and our world is iran. nuclear weapons program. chuck hagel has had some very outlying votes on that. >> i don't think he's going to get many republican votes. i like chuck, but his positions, i really didn't know all of them, frankly well out of the main street and to left of the president. >> he is the subject of a new ad opposing his nomination as defense secretary. dana, what do you think? he might not sail through like j
. "starting point" begins right now. >> and our "starting point," a u.s. contractor in kabul gunned down and killed this morning by a woman wearing an afghan police uniform. it happened inside kabul's police headquarters. the latest in a string of suspected green on blue attacks that are hitting morale and eroding trust in allies there. our pentagon correspond respondent barbara starr up early for us working her sources. joins us live from washington with more. >> good morning, alina. in the last few minutes, our nato sources are confirming privately that, indeed, it was an american citizen. a contractor shot and killed by a woman, an afghan woman in a police uniform inside kabul police headquarters. what is not known at this point or they are not saying, whether this woman was an afghan police officer or came into possession of the uniform, stole it. we have seen these kinds of incidents before. people have infiltrated in, may have taliban loyalties, may be other issues at work here. they have seen grudges in the past being enacted upon. so not a lot of detail yet. but this whole issue
americans are against arming the rebels or any u.s. involvement in the fighting there. >>> we're going to take a break. the southeast is bracing for severe weather. how your travel and christmas could be impacted. to the best vacation spot on earth. (all) the gulf! it doesn't matter which of our great states folks visit. mississippi, alabama, louisiana or florida, they're gonna love it. shaul, your alabama hospitality is incredible. thanks, karen. love your mississippi outdoors. i vote for your florida beaches, dawn. bill, this louisiana seafood is delicious. we're having such a great year on the gulf, we've decided to put aside our rivalry. now is the perfect time to visit anyone of our states. the beaches and waters couldn't be more beautiful. take a boat ride, go fishing or just lay in the sun. we've got coastline to explore and wildlife to photograph. and there's world class dining with our world famous seafood. so for a great vacation this year, come to the gulf. its all fabulous but i give florida the edge. right after mississippi. you mean alabama. say louisiana or there's no de
weekend for u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s. the navy is now investigating the death in afghanistan of one of its most senior deployed s.e.a.l. officers as an apparent suicide. a u.s. military officials tells cnn. navy commander job w. price, 42 years old, died december 22nd while serving as the commanding officer of s.e.a.l. team 4, a group of more than two dozen commandos conducting combat operations in the southern region of the country. now, while the death remains under formal investigation, that u.s. military official of who's directly familiar with the event, said the family has been notified of the death and has also been notified it is being investigated as an apparent suicide. there is no indication at this time that commander price was involved in any military-related investigations or any controversies, the official said. all indications are when he did not appear at an expected time, other military personnel weptnto look for him and discovered his body with an apparent gunshot wound. don. >> thank you very much. >>> a bank robber who escaped a prison in chicago on a rope of bed sheets and
accountable. >> this warning here after a u.s. official tells cnn that syria has begun mixing chemicals that could be used to make the deadly gas sarin. bob bear, i'll bring you in, cnn contributor, former cia officer. welcome back. before we talk about the specifics of sarin, let me just throw this at you. is it possible at all that this man, this mad man, bashar al assad, is bluffing? >> oh, i don't think he's bluffing. we have to consider what he represents and that's a very small community, which feels under threat. it thinks it will be destroyed by sunni fundamentalists if it loses damascus or any other big cities. they have their backs to the wall. they say among themselves that when it comes to their lives or killing the rebels they will kill the rebels. in other words, yes, they will use the sarin, i've been dealing with the people for 30 years, they're almost a cult. what seems to us completely irrational decision, they're capable of. i don't know whether they have reached this point or not, but if things get bad enough in syria, i have no dowd they'll use it. >> on this sarin
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